Call us directly: 919.832.9997
2 East South Street, Raleigh View on Map
<span>About</span> Theatre Raleigh | Hot Summer Nights

About Theatre Raleigh | Hot Summer Nights

Bringing intimate professional theatre to Downtown Raleigh

Hot Summer Nights at The Kennedy began in the summer of 2005 in an effort to bring a smaller and more intimate professional theatre to Downtown Raleigh. By having a strong group of producers who each have an extensive background in the arts, we are able to share an array of shows with our audiences by combining some of the best talent from both North Carolina and New York. From musicals to comedies to thought provoking dramas, Hot Summer Nights is proud to continue the excellence of bringing you our critically acclaimed summer series. Join us! The Heat is On!


“Going to a performance at Hot Summer Nights is like being on the 50-yard line or sitting behind home plate. There is not a bad seat in the house, and you are delightfully close to wonderful voices and superb acting.” Doris Click


Lauren Kennedy, Artistic Director

At HSN, she has directed Drift, True West and Romance Romance as well as starred in Tell Me On A Sunday and last years breakout hit Violet (Indy Week’s Best of 2011). On Broadway she starred as Lady Of The Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot, Daisy Hilton in Side Show, Fanitine in Les Miserables, and Sunset Blvd with Glenn Close. Off-Broadway: Mary in Vanitites and Good Ol’ Girls. London: Trevor Nunn’s RNT revival of South Pacific as Nellie Forbush. New works and Premieres: The Ten Commandments opposite Val Kilmer, Waiting For The Moon (Barrymore Award Nom.), The Rhythm Club (Helen Hayes Nom), White Christmas, and The Last Five Years. Her debut solo album Lauren Kennedy Songs Of Jason Robert Brown and her second album, Here And Now are both available on PS Classics.


Chris Bernier, Technical Director

Chris is always excited to be working with Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, having previously designed the past two summers. Chris is the full time Technical Director for the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theater at Barton College. At Barton Chris designed the scenery and lighting for the world premieres of Drift and Afric’s Muse as well as designing Macbeth, Drood, Waiting for Godot and No Exit. He most recently created the set design for Evita for NCT which played this past October in Raleigh. Chris received his BFA and MFA in design from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where he was a 4-year Trustee Scholar. Thanks to his wife Delaina and daughter Susannah for their love and support.


Leona Taylor, General Manager

Leona joined Theatre Raleigh as Development Director with more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She has just recently, she was moved up to the General Manager position!  Leona served as Development Officer with InterAct in Raleigh, and before that, held various fundraising positions at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina, Victory Junction Gang Camp, and WFDD Public Radio.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Wake Forest University, where she also minored in music. In her free time, Leona bakes and decorates cakes, sings and volunteers with the NC Master Chorale, and tries to find time to read. She has held various leadership positions with the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh. Leona lives in Holly Springs with her husband, Shane, and their two children, William and Natalie.

Leona is excited to have an opportunity to combine her love and appreciation of the arts with her professional skills for the first time in her career.

Ann Hess, Development Director


Meagan Chieppor, Office Manager


About Theatre Raleigh

The mission of Theatre Raleigh, Inc. is to produce work with an artistic scope that includes musical theatre, drama, comedy, concerts, theatre for young audiences, as well as the development of new theatrical projects. Theatre Raleigh, Inc. will nurture a tradition of intimate, professional live performances while enhancing, stimulating and providing opportunities to our community, thus contributing to its vitality.

Theatre Raleigh, Inc. is the umbrella institution under which the Hot Summer Nights Series, along with a planned Theatre for the Young Series and Backstage at the Kennedy Music Series, operates with the goal of providing audiences diverse programming in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.